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Winslow Homer

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  • Discoveries

    Discoveries
    Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work by Edwidge Danticat ( Princeton University Press: 181 pp., $19.95) "Create dangerously, for people who read dangerously. This is what I've always thought it meant to be a writer. Writing, knowing in part that no matter how trivial your words may seem, someday, somewhere, someone may risk his or her life to read them."Edwidge Danticat grew up in Haiti in the 1970s, under the dictatorship of Jean-Claude Duvalier. Danticat was born in 1969, but the story of the 1964 public execution of revolutionaries Marcel Numa and Louis Drouin was her creation myth — their courage, she writes, like the courage it must have taken Eve to take a bite of the apple; their deaths like Adam and Eve's expulsion from Eden. Danticat moved from Haiti to Brooklyn when she was 12. The beloved elderly uncle who had cared for her when her parents moved in 1971 to Brooklyn was persecuted by local gangs in Port-au-Prince, sought asylum in the U.S., was interrogated by U.S. officials, brutally incarcerated in Miami and died within days of his arrival. (She tells his story in her 2007 memoir, "Brother, I'm Dying.") Many of her loved ones, including two cousins, Maxo and his 10-year-old son, Nozial, were killed in this year's earthquake. In these essays, Danticat tells the stories of fellow Haitians: Alerte Belance, brutally hacked by machetes during the 1991 military coup; the journalist Jean Dominique, assassinated in 2000; and others. "The immigrant artist shares with all the other artists the desire to interpret and possibly remake his or her own world." These essays, reminiscent of Maurice Blanchot's "The Writing of the Disaster," (1980) are full of the images that have formed Danticat, the writer. She rearranges them in a collage. Haitians say that Haiti is "te, glise," she writes, "slippery ground." These essays are her effort to hold onto and even re-create her homeland.
  • Book review: 'Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories' by Simon Winchester

    Book review: 'Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories' by Simon Winchester
    Atlantic Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories Simon Winchester HarperCollins: 512 pp., $27.99 One of the great joys of reading a Simon Winchester book is the inadvertent discovery of minutiae that...

    Chrysler Museum showcases gift of American art

    Chrysler Museum showcases gift of American art
    Jane Parke Batten and her late husband, Frank, may not have been the most ardent of art collectors. Rather than living and breathing auction catalogs and sale prices, the South Hampton Roads couple simply bought what they liked, sometimes zeroing in on a...

    Wynton Marsalis swings for the fences

    Wynton Marsalis swings for the fences
    Wynton Marsalis is explaining jazz to me by talking about my boots. He is coming to Walt Disney Concert Hall this weekend to play his ambitious new composition, "Swing Symphony," with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. But before we get into musical details,...

    New England landscapes build on tradition

     New England landscapes build on tradition
    If you could gather all the artists who have been infatuated by the rugged New England coast over the years, you'd have a pretty good American art museum. Thomas Cole — the founder of the Hudson River School — was among the first when he...